PATIENTS recovering from the coronavirus are still suffering with symptoms three months after contracting the virus, experts have warned.
The condition has been dubbed “long Covid” and a new study has revealed that 75 per cent of patients admitted to hospital with the virus continued to suffer with ongoing issues.
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Researchers at North Bristol NHS Trust found that 81 out of 110 patients discharged from Southmead Hospital in Bristol were still experiencing symptoms when they were invited back to the clinic.
Symptoms included breathlessness, muscle aches and excessive fatigue.
The key symptoms of the virus include a new and persistent cough, a high temperature and a loss of taste and smell.
The research found that most patients reported improvements in these areas.
Covid-19 is a virus that attacks the lungs, but researchers found that most patients had no reductions in lung function or lung scarring.
Researchers said that many patients who had recovered are now suffering from a poor quality of life compared to others who have not had the virus.
They claimed that many patients are struggling to get back to work.
The study was funded by Southmead Hospital Charity and 163 patients with the virus were recruited – of which 19 died.
After three months participants were invited for a check up and 110 attended.
The study found that 74 per cent had persistent symptoms – notably breathlessness and excessive fatigue – with reduced health-related quality of life.
Only patients who required oxygen therapy in hospital had abnormal radiology, clinical examination or spirometry at follow-up.
Dr Rebecca Smith, deputy director of research and innovation at North Bristol NHS Trust said the study will help health care practitioners prepare to assist people in their recovery of the virus.
“We’re pleased that researchers at Southmead Hospital are leading the way and hope our findings can help patients and their GPs understand the course of post-Covid illness and the role of routine tests”, she added.
The research will now continue and the team is set to collaborate with the University of Bristol to look at the participant blood tests, rehabilitation therapies and psychological support.
Dr David Arnold, who is leading the Discover project, said: “This research helps to describe what many coronavirus patients have been telling us: they are still breathless, tired, and not sleeping well months after admission.
“Reassuringly, however, abnormalities on X-rays and breathing tests are rare in this group.
“Further work in the Discover project will help us to understand why this is, and how we can help coronavirus sufferers.”
Earlier this month it was revealed that half a million Brits were suffering from “Long Covid”.
MPs were also warned that some doctors had been dismissing the condition as ME.
Experts have indicated psychosis, fatigue, loss of eyesight and mobility issues are among the wide-ranging conditions that have been identified in those who have previously contracted the virus.
The founder of the Long Covid Support Group Claire Hastie warned that GPs were regularly misdiagnosing ongoing problems as anxiety or ME, saying: “Many people in our group to this day are being told by their GPs that it’s caused by anxiety and it’s all in their heads.
“It can cause anxiety, but it is not caused by anxiety. The science needs to catch up with us.”
Labour MP Andrew Gwynne, a member of the APPG, also revealed that he had been unable to shake his own coronavirus symptoms for 18 weeks.
“I feel like [I’m running] the London Marathon whenever I’ve done just a basic task around the house,” he said. “I sometimes struggle just to ask a single Parliamentary question by Zoom, and then I’ll spend the rest of the day in bed.”
The Royal College of General Practitioners says it expects GPs to see an influx of patients with “lingering” illnesses.